Heidi Klum might be right: In fashion, you’re either in or you’re out. In rock and roll fashion, though, things aren’t so cut and … sewn. Just like the music itself, some styles never really go away, while others bounce in and out of cool faster than a faux-hawked drummer’s double-bass-drum pedal.
Which brings us to the latest hot-or-not accessory: guyliner (i.e. eyeliner on guys).
Some may say it’s been in vogue since Bowie went glam. Others might argue My Chemical Romance are leading a black parade of a different sort, reviving eyeliner along with other theatrical-minded bands like Panic! at the Disco and 30 Seconds to Mars. And then there are the hipsters who are already claiming it’s so five minutes ago.
Which is it? We asked a few rockers and one taste-making heiress for their thoughts:
The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis: “I actually dabbled with it in the much earlier ’80s. I don’t have any problem with eyeliner, but it’s nice to have something to back it up with. Panic! at the Disco I’ve only ever seen in photographs, and they look like they travel with a large number of stylists. They look like they brought their girlfriends and their other friends and everyone had a dress-up party.”
The Killers’ Brandon Flowers: “It gives me a gypsy [feel]. I have four sisters, so it was always around.”
Plus-44′s Mark Hoppus: “When I was in high school back in the late ’80s, I was really — and still am — into the Cure. So I used to wear eyeliner and stick my hair up, and I just remember guys walking past and going, ‘What a f–!’ I feel like it’s a little overdone right now. Back in the day it was something that we did because you wanted to be different than everybody else. … Now it just seems kinda commonplace. Feels a little watered down to me.”
30 Seconds to Mars’ Jared Leto: “What I find interesting is that in every society from the beginning of time, in every continent, whether in preparation of war, whether it was mating rituals, men have found that the use of costume, the use of makeup, the use of preparation for battle or for love, has been an important element within that society. So there’s gotta be some primordial, subconscious reason that these things come up.”
Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows: “I used to wear eyeliner. We used to do it because when you’re a small band and you do stuff like that, people notice you and are like, ‘Who do these guys think they are?’ I kind of grew away from it, but the other guys still do it a lot. I’m totally cool with anyone that does it. I like our band because we have individual personalities. It’s cool when a band does a uniform thing, but when it’s just putting on eyeliner or having the same haircut or all wearing black, then it’s just kind of lame. We were that band at one point, a lot of bands go through that, but you kind of have to evolve out of that.”
The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne: “I think guys wearing makeup will become the new piercings. I think the appeal of it is not necessarily that it’s androgynous, it’s actually just kind of scary. There’s something just sort of decadent about men putting on makeup and acting tough. However, if you look like you spend too much time in front of the mirror, people are just going to think of you as being the arrogant, self-obsessed fool that you really are. So, if anything, you should learn how to do it very quickly and in private so you just show up looking great.”
Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix: “My wife digs it. It’s just like a once-a-day application, and it smears and gets nasty, and then the next day when you wake up … it almost looks cooler the night after, like down your face. It’s weird, man, I almost feel naked without any of it on. You know, I’m in Alabama hanging out with my family down there and I’m like [He gestures applying eyeliner].”
Papa Roach’s Tobin Esperance: “If you’re gonna wear makeup, it’s not about looking pretty. It’s gotta look like you’ve been up all night doing drugs.”
Army of Anyone’s Richard Patrick: “The current escalation of eyeliner usage is a direct result of people being more open-minded about androgyny and its place in fashion again. Some people wear it well, while others do not.”
Kasabian’s Tom Meighan: “There’s only two people that can get away with it, man: Keith Richards and David Bowie.”
Scissor Sisters’ Del Marquis: “I used to wear a lot more makeup early on, and then this Panic! at the Disco nonsense [happened and] I just wiped it all off. If you’re wearing makeup, it should enhance the music. If it is totally incongruous to what the music is about, it just makes my eyes roll back.”
And … Paris Hilton: “I like when guys wear a little eyeliner. Sometimes it’s cute.”